Dr Peter Doran is joined by his friend and colleague Dr Eilís Ward to discuss her new book, Self (2021). The book is published by Cork University Press in the Síreacht series on longings for another Ireland.
Ward argues that we have got it wrong in the West with our belief in a ‘self’ that is autonomous and separate from others, exemplified by the entrepreneurial self: always on, always positive and always self-improving. This is the neoliberal self, a particular creature of late capitalism. Drawing on her Zen Buddhist philosophy and practice, Ward goes further and argues that this entrenched view of the isolated self is harmful to us and is the source of much of our suffering. Dr Doran, who shares a deep interest in Zen Buddhist responses to our neoliberal times, engages Dr Ward on the prospects for human liberation and narratives to counter the dominant influence of neoliberalism on our modern constructions of the disembedded self longing for connection.
Eilís Ward was lecturer in the School of Political Science and Sociology, National University of Ireland, Galway. Her book is available from Cork University Press.